Posts Tagged ‘ FDA ’

FDA Warning: Beware of Teething Medication with Benzocaine

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Teething babyThe ingredient (benzocaine), used in medications that soothe a baby’s teething pain, can cause a rare but serious condition known as methemoglobinemia.  Methemoglobinemia reduces oxygen in the bloodstream,  which can lead to death. 

According to the FDA, which issued a warning in early April, the symptoms of methemoglobinemia include pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, and nail beds; shortness of breath; confusion; headache; lightheadedness; and rapid heart rate.  The condition is caused by gels and liquids containing benzocaine, with concentrations as low as 7.5% and symptoms can appear within minutes or hours of application.

So far, children 2 years and younger have been affected by benzocaine.  The FDA warns against giving children under 2 any medication containing benzocaine, unless directed by a pediatrician.  Naural ways to soothe baby’s pain include giving your child a chilled teething ring or rubbing/massaging  the gums with your fingers, suggests the American Academy of Pediatrics.  Otherwise, seek advice from a healthcare professional.

Name-brand medications that include benzocaine are Baby Orajel, Orajel, Anbesol, Hurricaine, and Orabase.  However, there are still benzocaine-free OTC teething medicines available.  Church & Dwight, the makers of Orajel, have released Baby Orajel Naturals, which contains clove oil instead of benzocaine, alcohol, and dye to relieve teething symptoms.  They are also working with the FDA to determine the best actions for using benzocaine in children under 2 years old.  Boiron has also released a homeopathic teething medicine called Camilia that comes in pre-measured, individual doses and is free of benzocaine, preservatives, flavors, dyes, and sugar/artificial sweeteners.

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Medicine Mistakes: Do You Make Them?

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Last week’s announcement that OTC drug manufacturers will no longer produce liquid acetaminophen for infants brought up an issue that’s been percolating for a while: mistakes we make when giving medicine to our children. Some of the most common errors parents have been known to make are:

* using the incorrect dosing tool (whether it’s a household spoon, or a cup or syringe from a different medication)

* basing the amount of medicine on the child’s age, instead of his weight

* using expired meds

* giving medication to a child that was prescribed for her sibling

* giving adult medicines to a child (Note: simply halving or reducing the dose is not safe and never recommended).

Unfortunately it’s not hard to make a mistake like any of these, especially when it’s the middle of the night, and when you’re desperate to offer your child some measure of comfort. Eventually, FDA guidelines will call for clearer packaging and measuring devices, including cups that will still be easy to read even when there’s medicine inside. They won’t contain two sets of measurements, either (do we really need teaspoons when the dosages are given in millileters?).

These steps will help, but not totally solve the problem. I know moms who have made all of the errors listed above, and I’ve done one or two of them myself. How about you? Care to share? Have you ever made a mistake when giving medicine to your child?

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Daily News Roundup

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

FDA issues warnings to four hand sanitizer companies
The Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday the companies claim their lotions and gels can prevent a variety of infections, including staphylococcus aureus, E. coli and bird flu. Companies that claim their products can prevent a disease must submit scientific studies to the FDA before launching them. “The FDA cannot allow companies to mislead consumers by making unproven prevention claims,” said FDA compliance director Deborah Autor, in a statement.

Girl Scouts court the growing Latina population in U.S.
According to the latest demographic data, the Latino population now totals 16.3% of the nation’s inhabitants, increasing by 43% over the last ten years. One organization taking this information to heart is the Girl Scouts of America. Already the 100 year-old organization enjoys some pretty impressive membership numbers among young American girls with one in 10 claiming membership in Girl Scouts. But in order to keep up with these ever-evolving demographic trends, the organization decided to launch a new national Hispanic-focused media campaign to reach “one of the only girl populations in the country that is growing,” according Girl Scout Council of Northern Texas.

No new PlayStation, Xbox until 2014?
Gamers might have to wait at least another three years before there’s any update to their Xbox or PlayStation consoles. Prominent gaming news site Kotaku on Thursday quoted multiple unnamed sources saying both Sony and Microsoft hope to extend the life of the current generation of consoles for as long as possible.

Teen fakes pregnancy as school project
A student at a high school in south-central Washington state faked her pregnancy for the past six months as a social experiment for her senior project. Gaby Rodriguez revealed she was not pregnant Wednesday by taking off the belly bundle in front of a stunned student assembly at Yakima High School that ended with a standing ovation. Her presentation about rumors and stereotypes is part of her about the perceptions of a pregnant student. The 17-year-old will present her project in May before she graduates.

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FDA Meets Today on Breast Milk Sharing

Monday, December 6th, 2010

As previously reported in this post, casual milk sharing between mothers unable to produce enough breast milk and those willing to donate their extra supply has become an extremely popular practice—especially with the help of the Internet. Sites like Facebook, which hosts the popular milk sharing network Eats on Feets, have been instrumental in connecting mothers and facilitating the process. Today, the FDA meets to discuss the implications of this non-standard milk sharing.

Last week, they issued this warning announcing the “FDA recommends against feeding your baby breast milk acquired directly from individuals or through the Internet. When human milk is obtained directly from individuals or through the Internet, the donor is unlikely to have been adequately screened for infectious disease or contamination risk.”

The statement goes on to say the ”FDA recommends that if, after consultation with a healthcare provider, you decide to feed a baby with human milk from a source other than the baby’s mother, you should only use milk from a source that has screened its milk donors and taken other precautions to ensure the safety of its milk.”

The FDA will share the findings from todays’ meeting in a report later this week.

How do you feel about milk sharing? Would the FDA’s stance deter you from participating in the practice?

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Daily News Roundup

Monday, October 25th, 2010

British kids log on and learn math- in Punjab:
Three state schools in London outsource part of their teaching to India via the Internet through new online-based company BrightSpark.  Students can now have a one on one tutoring experience at half the price that a British tutor would charge. [New York Times]

Kids’ docs urged to screen new moms for depression: The Pediatrics Academy says that over 400,000 babies are born to depressed mothers each year, and that their conditions can affect their babies as well. Research shows developmental and social delays occur often in babies with depressed moms. [MSNBC]

Raisinets recalled over peanut risk: Nestle has recalled has recalled 10 oz. “fun size” bags sold to Target, Shoprite, and Don Quixote stores because they may contain peanuts. Nestle says the recall only applies to candy with the 02015748 production code and UPC number of 2800010255. [MSNBC]

40,000 drop-side cribs recalled for safety risk: The recalled Ethan Allen, Angel Line, and Victory Land Heritage Collection 3-in-1 cribs have drop-sides that can detach due to faulty hardware or wear and tear, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. This can create a gap where young children can be trapped or suffocated. In the past five years more than 9 million drop-side cribs have been recalled and caused at least 32 infant deaths since 2000. [CBS News]

First four months critical to new babies sleep habits: A new study in the journal Pediatrics finds that most babies will sleep five to eight hours per night by their fourth month of life. Many babies will sleep while the rest of the family is sleeping–50 percent of babies at age five months. [Paging Dr. Gupta/CNN]

Celery recall plant awaits results from FDA: The FDA linked four deaths to contaminated celery from a Texas plant. The state health department traced six of 10 known cases of listeriosis during an eight-month period to celery processed at the SanGar plant. On Wednesday the agency shut down the plant and ordered the company to recall all the produce that has passed through the plant since January. [MSNBC]

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